Some friends have inquired as to how my sabbatical is going. I’m at the halfway point, now, and I’m afraid, I’ve been doing very little that would be considered “interesting.” This is, to some extent, by design. I jokingly told some folks that my goal for this sabbatical was to be the “least interesting man in the world” (in reference to the Dos Equis ad campaign that features the most interesting man).
My wife and I are referring to this sabbatical as “58 Saturdays” and often greet each other in the morning with a “Happy Saturday!” Although I haven’t gotten to the point of forgetting what day of the week it is, I could see that easily happening, and soon. One of our biggest projects of the month has been wrapping up our move – that’s now (finally) 100% done. These things always take 3 times longer than you think they should.
This first month has been about turning inward, and stepping back, looking at my life and who I am. Next month, I hope to spend more time reaching out and reconnecting with all of you. So with that in mind, here are some of the things I’ve been doing (I’ve warned you, these are boring):
- I’ve continued my daily yoga and meditation practices, and have found the time to lengthen and strengthen them both. Because it’s summer, I tend to do yoga outside first thing in the morning, accompanied by the awakening birds and bees. Meditation is typically just before bed. I find that on the rare days when I skip these practices, I’m always a bit off balance, so it’s relatively easy to maintain this habit.
- Speaking of practices, for the first time since third grade, I’m writing a simple journal entry every day. It is both prospective (I set intentions in the morning) and retrospective (summarizing what I did and how I felt at the end of the day).
- As part of my journal entry, I’m taking what I call a “Daily Practice Challenge.” This is something I’ve invented, and I described it in my Convox talk earlier this year. Every day, you identify some new thing that you do every day, and decide whether you want to continue to practice this activity. I’ll have a blog post about that a little later after I have done it for long enough. Needless to say, it has been very interesting, very enlightening, and very helpful.
- I’ve been writing letters. Yes, some email letters, but also handwritten letters, that need stamps and all that. Don’t be surprised if one of these shows up in your virtual or real inboxes. I have this romantic vision of 19th century lords of the manor keeping up with their “correspondences.” Of course, I’m not a lord, at least, not any more so than every other person on this earth.
- I’ve given up some things. We’ve never watched much TV, and despite being “on vacation,” that hasn’t really changed. But I’ve also given up using Facebook to any significant extent, except to post insights and observations. I’m not giving it up completely – I know many of my friends rely on it for communication. But, I’ve completely given up checking my newsfeed, and I don’t even check how my own posts are faring anymore. I find that the product Facebook has built is not something that promotes a strong, healthy psyche – at least, not for me. YMMV.
- I’ve also given up on caffeine. I’m sure I’ll fall off the wagon at some point, but really, the negative effects on my physiology and mood are just too consistent and too damaging.
- I’ve learned to love housework. Yes, Mom, you heard me right. I now look forward to a nice meditative time in the evening after dinner, doing the “washing up.”
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, I’ve found my purpose in life. Or, at least, I’ve stepped through a process that is supposed to help me find my purpose, and make positive steps towards fulfilling it. The process involved me sequestering myself at a seaside retreat on 8 of my 30 Saturdays, and systematically spending 1-3 hours each of those days stepping through the book: The Four Desires : Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom by Rod Stryker. Stryker is my yoga teacher’s teacher, so you can imagine the book makes liberal reference to Yogic and Vedic concepts. But you don’t need to be a yogi to gain tremendous benefit from the book – I highly recommend it. If the yoga stuff turns you off, try pretending the Sanskrit words are Latin, and the sages that are quoted are from the philosophical school of thought you like best. 🙂
What is my purpose, you ask? Well here’s where I landed – I may still revise this further, but I feel this rings true for me:
- I’m an independent, trusted, equanimous scout who seeks and shares the truth.
Now all I have to do is find out precisely how I manifest that vision. Stay tuned. After all, I’ve got another 28 Saturdays to make good on it – should be pretty easy! 😉
Cheers and Peace,
p.s. Here are a couple more photos from a beach walk I took. Wood is such a beautiful substance!